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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-03-26

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, March 26, 2002


  • [01] Cem slams 'biased' EU over Cyprus
  • [02] Clerides: solution would force postponement of presidential elections
  • [03] Deputies question mobile phone tapping claims
  • [04] Jordan to host top oil meeting next month
  • [05] Cyprus marks 1821 uprising
  • [06] CTO under fire over advertisment

  • [01] Cem slams 'biased' EU over Cyprus

    By Gareth Jones

    TURKISH Foreign Minister Ismail Cem yesterday chided the European Union over its stance on Cyprus, saying it was hampering efforts to reunite the divided island by unfairly favouring the Greek Cypriots.

    "I am not sure that the EU is doing its best to support the peace process in Cyprus," Cem told a gathering of EU officials and businessmen organised by the Europe-Turkey Foundation.

    "Remarks are being made in the EU that encourage the Greek Cypriots to be more intransigent, saying that 'whatever you do over there, don't worry. It won't affect your membership chances,'" Cem said.

    The EU has repeatedly said it will admit Cyprus with or without a solution.

    "I am afraid the Greek Cypriots are not very inclined, and have no incentive, to respond to the Turkish Cypriot proposals," said Cem.

    "If a mutually acceptable solution is not reached... then we will all have difficulties -- Greece, the Greek Cypriots, the Turkish Cypriots, Turkey of course, and the EU," he added.

    Ankara, which also hopes to join the EU, has said in the past that it could annex the occupied areas if Cyprus joins divided. European Union Enlargement Commissioner Guenther Verheugen said last week such a move would spell the end of Turkey's EU aspirations.

    Talks between the two sides resumed in January, but have apparently so far made little headway.

    Both sides hope for progress by June because Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will undergo heart surgery this year and the EU's accession talks with Cyprus are due to end by December.

    "The EU has a legal and moral obligation to both nations of Cyprus...The EU should be more energetic and stop telling only the Turkish Cypriot side to find a solution," Cem said.

    Cem described the Cyprus problem as "a litmus test" for Turkey's own troubled relations with the EU and hinted that the EU might facilitate a solution for the island by granting Ankara itself an official date for launching accession negotiations.

    "If dates were given, there would be developments. This would encourage Turkey," he said.

    The EU accepted Turkey as a candidate for membership in 1999 but has yet to begin the negotiations due to concerns over Ankara's human rights record.

    Some European politicians privately doubt the EU would be able or willing to absorb Turkey, a big, mostly Muslim country of nearly 70 million, which stretches eastward to Iraq and Syria.

    And even within Turkey, an army general, clearly frustrated by the EU's criticisms, recently suggested his country might do better to court other neighbours such as Iran and Russia. The army retains considerable political clout in Turkey.

    But Cem said the EU should embrace Turkey precisely because of its strategic location and Muslim culture.

    "It would create a Europe that was more extrovert than introvert. It would mean that Europe was genuinely secular, not a Christian club. The EU with Turkey would be more forceful politically, economically and militarily," Cem said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Clerides: solution would force postponement of presidential elections

    By Jean Christou

    NEXT year's presidential elections would probably be postponed if a solution to the Cyprus problem was reached in the next 12 months, President Glafcos Clerides has said.

    Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Clerides said it would be "a joke" to hold presidential elections next February if a solution was found before then. He said, however, that if no progress were made on the political issue then the elections would go ahead, but without him as a candidate.

    "It would be a joke if we have to draft a new constitution which would provide for a new system of election to actually have elections in February 2003," Clerides said. "But if the situation remains as it is then the elections will go ahead."

    Clerides said that if there was a solution, a referendum would have to he held and if people voted for an agreement there would be a time period needed to draft a new constitution, which would probably call for completely new elections based on the solution.

    The President, who will be 84 next month and is serving his second five- year term, declined to be drawn into a discussion on who might be standing as a candidate for DISY, the party he founded in 1976. "My position is simple. When a politician withdraws from politics he withdraws from all aspects of it," he saidn adding that it would be up to the party to decide.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassouldies told reporters that the President had avoided becoming involved in the elections issue because he was totally focused on the Cyprus problem.

    Clerides began face-to-face talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on January 16 to resolve the Cyprus problem. The two leaders meet twice a week and agreement on a comprehensive settlement is slated to be feasible by June when Cyprus closes its accession negotiations with the EU.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Deputies question mobile phone tapping claims

    THE HOUSE Human Rights Committee is today expected to discuss allegations that the intelligence service (KYP) is eavesdropping on mobile phone conversations.

    The matter emerged on Sunday, after Politis reported that KYP had the capability to tap into mobile phones, allegedly to spy on citizens.

    Justice Minister Nicos Koshis denied the allegations, arguing there was no reason for KYP to spy on members of the public.

    Koshis said that only the Turkish intelligence services in the north could be eavesdropping on phone conversations.

    There was no reason for any citizen to be watched, Koshis insisted.

    But Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos added that while the right of communication was established, the state should also have the right to watch people if the country's security was in danger.

    DISY deputy Nicos Tornaritis has demanded that the House Human Rights Committee be briefed on the matter.

    Tornaritis said the use of such equipment constituted a violation of basic human rights that are protected by the constitution and international conventions signed by Cyprus.

    Tornaritis, however, said that because of the sensitivity of the matter, the committee's briefing would take place behind closed doors.

    On Sunday, Politis reported that KYP had procured two devices, one from Germany and one from Israel, both of which are capable of intercepting mobile phone (GSM) conversations.

    An unnamed KYP official, however, told the daily that the equipment was solely used to secure national interests and not for eavesdropping on citizens.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Jordan to host top oil meeting next month

    COMMERCE, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis will attend a crucial meeting in Jordan next month on the oil and gas issue being discussed between the government and four Middle Eastern neighbours.

    Rolandis, who returned from Cairo on Sunday after meeting his Egyptian counterpart Samih Fahmi, told journalists that he would first brief President Glafcos Clerides on his visit to Egypt, but said that the five countries had called a crucial meeting in Amman next month. The meeting will be attended by the oil ministers of Cyprus, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.

    According to a report by the Egyptian News Agency (MENA), Fahmi said on Sunday that he had discussed with top Syrian and Cypriot officials the project of exporting Egyptian natural gas to Jordan and Lebanon via Syria and to Europe via Cyprus.

    The Cairo talks covered Cyprus' needs for Egyptian natural gas, Fahmi said. He said that 50 per cent of the engineering studies and designs for this multi-national project had already been finalised. Fahmi said talks also covered the possibility of exporting liquefied Egyptian or Syrian gas to the European countries via Cyprus.

    Syrian oil minister Ibrahim Hadad, who also attended the meeting, said they discussed the work of the Syrian company, which will run the gas pipeline between Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Rolandis told journalists in Cairo that Cyprus's membership of the European Union could help in the exportation of the Egyptian gas to European countries.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Cyprus marks 1821 uprising

    CYPRUS yesterday marked the beginning of the Greek revolution of 1821 against 400 years of Ottoman rule.

    The day was celebrated with school parades and church services across the island, with Nicosia being the epicentre of the celebrations.

    President Glafcos Clerides took the salute of a parade of students, war veterans, scouts and other organisations outside the Greek embassy, while earlier he had attended a church service held by Archbishop Chrysostomos.

    Greek Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos said yesterday that although time was running out for a settlement of the Cyprus problem, there were no indications yet that the Turkish Cypriot side had found the courage to rise to the occasion, and remained stuck in stagnant and unproductive methods.

    Panagopoulos said the island's EU accession would prevent any threats against its security and said that Greece would continue to help Cyprus to bolster its defence until Turkey changed its stance.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] CTO under fire over advertisment

    THE Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) has come under fire in Ireland for a radio ad slammed as "offensive and sexist". The advertisement features a family arguing over where to go for their summer holidays, but it's the father who has the final say.

    "It was with a bit of surprise that I heard an ad on the radio pushing Cyprus," said columnist Clare McKeon in the Irish edition of the Sunday Mirror. "It's easily the worst ad I have heard on radio for a long time."

    McKeon describes the squabbling family with the mother "ranting about wanting to be in orange groves" and the kids squealing as well until the father makes the decision.

    "Oh how butch he sounds, how manly, and after all he is the only one with common sense and the authority to announce after the squabble: 'Oh that's settled, it's got to be Cyprus'," McKeon said.

    "Talk about a tacky piece of advertising. It's an offensive piece of sexist advertising and the Cyprus Tourism Board should be ashamed of itself."

    CTO officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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